ElevationAscent: 2,781' 848 m
Descent: -2,784' -849 m
High: 2,405' 733 m
Low: 469' 143 m
GradeAvg Grade: 7% (4°)
Max Grade: 29% (16°)
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“A massive loop through Malibu Creek State Park utilizing the Backbone Trail for spectacular views along the way.”— John McKinney
Follow the Tapia Spur Trail for 1.2 miles along a ridge line and down into Tapia Park. The trail will then come close to the trailhead for the Piuma portion of the Backbone Trail that sits along Malibu Canyon Rd. Join the Backbone Trail from here as it heads to the southwest (on the western side of Malibu Canyon Rd.). Follow this for 6/10 of a mile before the path turns into a wider fire road and then continue up the ridge. Along this ridge there are great opportunities for views of Santa Monica Bay and the coastline, as well as some of the nearby islands in the Pacific.
The hike then turns southward toward Mesa Peak before soon hitting the Mesa Peak Motorway (a portion of the Backbone Trail) trail juncture. Turn right at this point and follow the trail to the northwest as it gains elevation. Along this portion of the hike there are great views of Goat Butte. Roughly 2.6 miles after the Mesa Peak Motorway trail juncture there is a point where a footpath departs from the fire road the right. Follow this footpath for nearly 1/2 mile until you hit the Corral Canyon Road parking lot.
At the Corral Canyon Road parking lot you should leave the Backbone Trail and follow signs for the Castro Peak Motorway. Stay on the Castro Peak Motorway for 8/10 of a mile before diverting to follow the Bulldog Motorway. At this point you'll be more than halfway done with the loop. As you follow the Bulldog Motorway you'll drop in elevation and pass under electrical lines. Roughly 2.7 miles of hiking later you'll hit the Crags Road junction.
Follow Crags Road to the right as you enter Trinfuno Canyon. Along the way you'll pass by some of the old sets that were used for the filming of the TV show M*A*S*H and left behind. Crags Road then passes Century Lake before descending to Malibu Creek. A fork in the path will appear with the option to hike left or straight. You can take either direction as they will rejoin with each other shortly along the river. Once the two paths rejoin simply take Crags Road until it end at the original parking lot to complete the loop.
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